Employee empowerment has been defined in many ways but generally means the process of allowing employees to have input and control over their work, and the ability to openly share suggestions and ideas about their work and the organization as a whole. Empowered employees are committed, loyal and conscientious. They are eager to share ideas and can serve as strong ambassadors for their organizations.
Improve Productivity – Reduce Costs
John Zink of the PHCC Educational Foundation says that employees have great ideas about how to improve productivity and reduce costs, but companies need to know how to ask for these ideas and listen. “Sometimes it takes an employee stepping outside of their authority to show the benefits of employee empowerment an owner,” he says. Employees who feel confident that their input will be valued, listened to and acted upon will be more likely to share those ideas, benefiting employee and employer.
Better Customer Service
Simon Sinek, a blogger who writes “The Empowered Employee”, says that empowered employees provide exceptional service and he’s experienced this first-hand. “Empowered employees have the power to make decisions without a supervisor. They are entitled to go off script, bend the rules, do what they see fit if they believe it is the right thing to do for the customer. More than any other kind of employee, the empowered employee is able to create a feeling of true customer service that ultimately yields much greater customer loyalty,” he says. Companies that give employees the freedom to make decisions on the spur of the moment that may even sometimes fly in the face of established rules and protocol often find that service to internal and external customers is improved. In addition, empowered employees take pride and ownership in their jobs when they know that they can exercise independent judgment when necessary.
Empowered employees feel free to challenge the status quo, which is critical for companies in today’s fast-changing, technology-driven environment, says Lin Grensing-Pophal, author of “Human Resource Essentials”. Employees and the companies they work for can become too complacent, doing things the way they’ve always done them. Unless employees feel comfortable questioning the status quo, those companies are likely to stagnant as competitors move swiftly past them. Establishing an environment when employees feel free to question, challenge and offer new ideas can help to avoid this problem and benefit employees and employers in the process, says Grensing-Pophal